When setting up a budget for a week, a month or even longer, every citizen has to put the cost of living in Nigeria into consideration (average amount spent on food, transportation, housing, etc). This article will review the current cost of living in Nigeria’s biggest cities of Abuja and Lagos.
Living in Nigeria is always a tale of two sides with the middle points rapidly disappearing. You are either rich or poor, educated or illiterate, and so on. The same thing with the cost of living in Nigerian cities. While some are extremely high, others are very cheap.
If you are not well informed about the cost of living in your country, it may lead to the accumulation of debts and unpreparedness for changes in the prices of goods. When going shopping, it is always a good idea to have extra money, so that your plans will not fail due to unforeseen circumstances.
Nigeria Biggest Cities
The cost of living in Nigeria depends on the state you want to live in as some states have a low cost of living where you can easily cover the expenses. However, of the many cities in the country; only two have received significant attention from the world based on the high political and economic relevance they command; the cities of Lagos and Abuja (the capital of Nigeria). Additionally, many Nigerians believe that these cities offer a lot of opportunities than other states which is one of the key reasons for the continuous influx into these cities.
Lagos and Abuja are the largest urban centers in Nigeria; they are also two of the most expensive places in the Nigeria. Despite the fact that it is easier to cover current expenses in small towns and rural areas, these expensive cities still remain significant due to the complicated economic situation of the country. Many Nigerians believe that there are more possibilities and job opportunities in big cities.
Thanks to the oil boom of the 1970s, the conditions in the big cities improved significantly. However, it has since deteriorated due to the population growth, inadequate planning by the government and other negative factors.
Here is the cost breakdown of living in Nigeria.
Generally, the cost of housing is indiscriminately high and varies from place to place in Nigeria. In most cases, hiring companies find and secure houses for their expats to relieve them of the stress of home hunting. Some companies go further to foot the bill which is usually part of the benefits that come with the job. In some instances, some companies purchase or sub-let large quantities in areas for their expatriate staffs. These areas, generally known as expat quarters, often have the key features needed for comfortable living.
However, if you’re looking to rent a decent apartment in Abuja or Lagos, you would spend between N600,000 and N4,000,000 yearly depending on the area you choose to live in, and the type of apartment. Prices vary for those who may be thinking of buying a home in any of these two cities. While the exact price of an apartment will depend on different factors like the area you want to buy the property from; social amenities and your negotiation skills.
Nigeria’s inflation rate has been doubled ever since the country experienced recession which explains why the cost of foodstuffs in the market has skyrocketed. However, here is a price comparison that shows the cost of each food item in Lagos and Abuja.
- 1 kg of tomatoes – N717 in Lagos and N871 in Abuja
- 12 big eggs – N612 in Lagos, N600 in Abuja
- 500g of local cheese – N1,808 in Lagos and 1,712 in Abuja
- 1 kg of apples – N1,261 in Lagos and N1,432 in Abuja
- 1 kg of potatoes – N1,053 in Lagos and N827 in Abuja
- 500g of boneless chicken breast- N854 N1,238 in Lagos and Abuja respectively
- 1 litre of whole fat milk – N822 in Lagos and N763 in Abuja
- 1 bottle of a quality red wine – N2,327 in Lagos and N2,044 in Abuja
- 2 litres of Coca-cola – N400 in Lagos and N500 in Abuja
Utility bills such as heating, electricity and gas are usually within the range of N15,000-20, 000 while the cost of internet connection is between N10,000 and N30,000 monthly. People who need help with cleaning can get such services at an hourly rate of N2,000 – N3,000. However, note that the cost of utility bills is dependent on the number of people who occupy the accommodation and as such, the prices may rise.
If you’re relocating to Nigeria with your family, chances are that you have a child (toddler, adolescent or teenager). As such, it is important to include the cost of education into your budget. While government schools are spread across the country, they’re not an option for expats who want to give their children the best education possible.
As expected, the cost of education in private schools is higher than the cost of education in public schools. The tuition fees in a regular primary school is between N30,000 and N150,000 per term, while the prices in international schools usually range from as little as N600,000 up to N3 million per annum. Public schools cost less as the fees can be as low as N10,000.
The tertiary institutions are not left out as private universities cost more than government-owned universities. Apart from the quality of education, private universities have the advantage of a smooth academic calendar as there are no industrial actions which the public universities face. However, tuition fees usually begin from around N500,000 up to N4 million.
One of the items that can take a huge segment of anyone’s expenses in Nigeria if not properly planned for is transportation. Much like housing, the cost of transportation varies in different parts of the country. While the cost of transportation is a little on the high side in the more developed part of Nigeria, it is significantly lower in the local parts.
Most expats prefer to hire the service of a person who knows the routes across the city for the sake of convenience and efficiency. Although taxi companies like Uber and Taxify and many more are getting more popular in some states as some expats prefer to ride in their company car. If you’re considering this option, you will need to include the salary of the individual into your monthly budget as well as other costs associated with transport like car insurance, fuel and maintenance costs.
Further more, the price of flight tickets from Abuja to Lagos and vice versa costs an average of N50,000; however, you may be able to get a lower price quote if you book in advance. Or you can opt to travel by road and pay between N6,500 and N8,000 for the transport.
Sometimes, the body breaks down and requires medical attention and you want to be ready for such unforeseen occurrences. A short visit to a doctor costs around N7,000 in Abuja and N12,000 in Lagos, although this figure may vary in different regions and clinics.
Salary and Finance
All companies pay their workers in Naira with the exception of a few multinational companies that pay their expat staffs in foreign currency. With over 23 job categories in Nigeria as shown by a study, the salary rates varies depending on the nature of job and skill-set required but the minimum wage is pegged at N30,000. However, people living in Lagos and Abuja will spend an average of N3,000 per day (depending on lifestyle) on necessities like feeding, transportation and other expenses.
Unfortunately, one of the biggest problems workers face in Nigeria is that the salaries are not regular. It Is no longer uncommon for some state governments to default in salary payments for as long as 3 months which has brought unforseen hardship to the workers and their families while also slowing down the economic activities in the states.
Likewise, getting loans to finance a business can be a difficult task as many entrepreneurs have cried out at various times at the unwillingness of banks to give them loans. This situation is the same across the country as most individuals rely on cooperative societies and microfinance banks to raise funds for their projects.
Couples who are looking to have a romantic evening can have a dinner date in the neighbourhood pub with a budget of N7,000 or they can visit the cinema to see the latest blockbusters with the price of 2 tickets as low as N4,000.
While couples in Abuja can have a special evening outing at a Chinese restaurant in the expat area with offerings such as appetisers, main course, wine and dessert for N13, 500 while couples in Lagos can have the same experience for N20, 000
Foreigners moving to Nigeria should realise that this is a developing country with a vast gap between the rich and the poor. While many of its citizens live in poverty, a selected few experience a very different lifestyle, utilising their wealth to fund international business ventures, unlimited shopping carousal and private education. Nigeria’s well-to-do are not just millionaires, they are billionaires. And naturally, this has a skewing effect on the country’s economy